chromeThere are seemingly endless ways to get video onto your television set these days, and the GeekWire team has been testing two of them, at opposite ends of the spectrum — Google Chromecast and the Xfinity X1 cable box.

GeekWire columnist Frank Catalano joins us on this week’s radio show to share his experience using Google Chromecast to stream content to his television. The $35 device makes it easy to stream content to the TV from a tablet, notebook or smartphone, or from apps such as Netflix and YouTube.

If the Chromecast is a Smart Car, the Xfinity X1 is an Escalade. I’ve been testing this device from Comcast for the past couple of weeks, and as someone who has repeatedly attempted to cut the cord in the past, I’ve been won over by the way it blends on-demand and live programming with built-in apps and Internet content.

x1_optionBy the end of the show, John has been convinced to go with at least one of these options.

One correction from something I said on the show: The version of the X1 that I’ve been using has five tuners, for recording up to four programs at a time while watching another live. (I’ll correct this for the podcast and radio audience on our next episode.)

That discussion begins in the second segment, at the 8:45 mark in the audio player above. Frank and I are both working on detailed posts with more on our experiences — stay tuned for more on GeekWire next week.

The show begins with our Week in Geek news roundup, including the release of Plants vs. Zombies 2, and  PopCap’s Space Needle stunt. Also check out the review of the game by GeekWire’s Blair Hanley Frank.

More: Seattle releases new Find It, Fix It app for reporting potholes, graffiti and other problems. And a Seattle woman petitions to change access to restaurant health ratings after a food poisoning incident.

App of the Week: VoxPixl.

Name that Tech Tune: Answer to last week’s challenge.

Listen to the show above or directly via this MP3 file.

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  • FrankCatalano

    And I have discovered that both Chromecast and Sonos smartphone apps do support using the hardware controls on the phone to adjust volume on external devices, at least on my HTC Droid Incredible 2. I tested it using the Netflix smartphone app (which relies on the installed Chromecast app for display on the Chromecast device connected to my television). When “play on Chromecast” is selected, the phone’s physical volume controls will adjust the TV’s volume. The same is true with the phone’s hardware volume controls and the Sonos app for streaming audio to my Sonos speakers.

    So this is a welcome correction to my comment near the end of the podcast in which I didn’t think it worked for Sonos (and wasn’t sure for Chromecast).

    • Todd Bishop

      Perfect, that makes so much sense for it to work that way. We’ll have two corrections next week, and an excuse to talk more about this topic. :)

  • jaysenreed

    Another option that compares to Chromecast is Miracast TV — HD Wireless, which in many ways offers a better alternative to Chromecast with features like Full 1080p HD for all content – a new Miracast HD Wireless adapter($39) became available this week and works much like Apple’s Airplay Wireless display technology…see –T ab l e t S p r in t– worth reviewing for the features this new device offers…

  • Horus Pineal
  • jgsing

    Does the Xfinity X1 allow you to jump commercials when playing back normal TV? I have Comcast and an older Motorola DVR, and I have been able to program the remote that comes with the box to jump forward 30 sec, or back 15 sec. If I couldn’t do this, I don’t think I would want a DVR.

    • Elky Monroe

      I’ve not been able to replicate the jump since getting a spankin’ new DVR and remote last month, replacing the 7-year old one.

      • jgsing

        Did you follow the instructions on-line described how to make the remote do lots of things? Gee, I hope my DVR doesn’t die. Then I’ll have to switch to DISH.

  • buzzbruggeman

    Great conversation about the Chromecast. It works brilliantly with Netflix and YouTube. Tiny bit of latency streaming from PBS/NBC/etc. But that latency seems almost to be dependent on bandwidth. At home with my Clear service it’s more pronounced, then in offices where there’s lots of bandwidth. But great bargain at $35. Now if there was a way to buy ESPN a la carte, Cable TV would be in free fall.

  • Joe

    Just had my xfinity x1 installed in Chicago and couldn’t love the improvement more – a huge jump from the old blue motorola box menus… even my pandora is streaming there… and yes, my HTC One Android built-in IR blaster does adjust the volume on the tv using the rocker switch on the phone. The only downside was comcast installation took hours and now there are 3 coax wires coming into the living room – 1 for the new box, 1 for the modem/router and 1 to power the cable amplifier in the crawlspace. Otherwise loving x1!!! Feels a bit like they borrowed a page from TiVo(which I love) and netflix.

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